Area Lions Clubs are aiming to collect a record 2,000 deer hides in their annual fundraising effort for the Wisconsin Lions Camp near Rosholt.
Most of the 49 clubs in Wisconsin Lions District 27D2, which includes La Crosse, Monroe, Juneau, Vernon, Crawford, Richland and Sauk counties, participate in the collection, said Virgil Thompson of West Salem, a past district governor and a past president of the Wisconsin Lions District Governors Organization.
Archery and gun sportsmen donate the hides from their kills, Thompson said.
“The first year our district participated, we collected 99 hides,” he said. “In 2017, we collected 1,669 hides and hope to reach 2,000 this year.”
Those hides and those from the Lions’ other nine district, will be taken to a central collection point to be sold, Thompson said.
Last year, 10,667 deer hides were collected statewide, raising $87,255 for the camp’s operation, he said.
During the 30 years the program has existed, it has raised more than $1 million to operate the camp, which 1,250 to 1,500 children and adults with various disabilities are able to use for free each summer. It has an annual budget of $950,000.
The camp’s 440 acres include a 40-acre private lake and many hiking and backpacking trails. It has nine duplex cabins and the Pine Wood Lodge with several other cabins. All are handicap accessible and air conditioned, and include modern bathroom facilities.
The camp includes a health center staffed with nurses who can provide all medical needs around the clock.
Recreational activities include crafts, water sports, archery, a climbing wall and a mud pit, among other things.
The 12-week camping season includes one week for the blind or visually impaired, two weeks for the deaf or hard of hearing, three weeks for those with mild cognitive disabilities, two weeks for individuals with diabetes and three weeks for adults.
Other initiatives of Wisconsin clubs include its Diabetes Awareness Program, a Children’s Vision Screening Program, a Youth Exchange Program, a Hearing Aid Program and its Eye Glass and Hearing Aid Recycling Center.